Toy Fair 2012 – Smart Toys

While everyone else is focusing on action figures (and trust me, I’ll get to them), I’m going to give some attention to some of the other aspects of Toy Fair. This time around it’s toys that might just make you (or your little nerdling) smarter.

We all had those science project kits when we were kids, but it seems that in the years since then they’ve gotten significantly cooler.

Thames & Kosmos had a huge assortment of just really over the top science projects that blow anything we entered into the science fair away.

Seriously, that box says “isolate plant DNA in a test tube.”

That, right there, is a fucking super villain starter kit. Or a Batcave starter kit. They’re surprisingly similar.

Is it at least something that while the Dangerous Book for Boys kits are both things that are available in other non-gendered boxes, the perfume and cosmetic kits are only in (mostly) non-gendered boxes?

Another company, Science Supply Solutions, started life as a laboratory supply company before branching out into clever little science kits they call The Science Cube. It’s a plastic box with everything you need to do a few different experiments. The thing’s really pretty slick.

Of course they have refill kits.

And this super big-daddy set that comes with a backpack, a net and freaking microscope!

Also, the company’s “About Us” page has the greatest picture in the history of photography. You need to click this link. I love that kid; he is the world’s happiest scientist.

Switching gears a little, how about something fantastically dorky and sophisticated to go on your desk?

How about a globe that floats in mid-air?

The Moon and Mars ones have the satellites that mapped them for their bases. How cool is that?

So, you know those crystal growing kits, right?

Why doesn’t anyone use them to make Kryptonite?

I mean, really?

I know I’ll be doing it soon.

This is awesome. It’s called Kurio and it’s a fully-functional Android tablet designed for children.

When I say fully-functioning, I mean wifi, HDMI, micro SD slot, 5-point multitouch screen. It’s got 8 different children profiles that can set up individually to allow or block content from each child. And the blocks can be really specific, like “only these websites” or “no websites that mention alcohol” or whatever you don’t want your kid to see. It has an app store, but the apps can’t have ads, and no microtransactions so you don’t end up like this guy.

And when the kid’s old enough to not need that bumper anymore (or if Mom or Dad want to borrow it), it comes right off and looks like any other tablet.

The same company, Techno Source (actually, the same people that put out 20Q), also have in the pipeline a fun little toy they call Codee. Based, no shit, on a model that an MIT grad student came up with to study DNA strands, Codee is a chain of 64 linked blocks that can be twisted and manipulated into pretty much anything.

As weird as this is going to sound, there was this guy who came up with an entirely new shape. And he used it to make a perfect map/globe. Depending on which way it’s turned, it shows both the Northern and Southern hemispheres without the distortion normally associated with maps.

And as a bonus, when it’s turned inside-out, it becomes a map of the night sky.

The shape can also be used for games. Using eight of them (four black and four white), you can make 38,416 different combinations. Somehow I doubt you’ll be able to make all of them, though.

Skott Stotland is a thousand monkeys in a man suit. He has been writing for the internet for over a decade.

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